Presence came about after my first visit to the Academy. I walked the untouched rooms and was told there was a spirit that lived in the house, of a young girl. Ascending the steep stairs, I noticed an immediate change in my own spirit. I noticed how my own being became affected by the small rooms upstairs.When one talks of a presence, we think of ghosts, haunted houses, seeing a resemblance of late occupants. For me, in this work, presence signifies something more subtle than that. I can’t say I’ve seen anything or anyone, but being sensitive and empathic, I noticed while upstairs that an immense, almost immeasurable, amount of sadness was present. Grief was present. Loneliness was present. The air was thick with it. I felt lethargic, slow. At the door to one bedroom - stilled completely...unable to enter. Entirely overcome. The presence of these feelings, in the absence of the physical, is what struck me.
The history of the building, the history of the family who dwelt there, and what I myself experienced, prompted me to explore how to work in the space, how to create an installation that would reflect all that was there and yet not there. While I am photographing children they sometimes slip into a faraway state and [just for a moment] they are not here. They enter a state of absence from their own bodies. The images of these girls represented perfectly the sad, grieving, lonely presence I felt in the building which was, until then, absent of body. The projected images become indistinct, part of the building...the walls, the ceiling, the furnishings. For a fleeting time they merge with history – reflected, projected –until they too became absent again. And the building remains once more with all that is present, in a state of absence.